Lives Remembered: Dick Morris

My father Frederick Richard Austin Morris, known as Dick to his family, friends, colleagues and students, died in Dumfries on 8 August 2008. He was a teacher and college principal as well as a war veteran. Born on 4 February 1921 in the village of Platt Bridge near Wigan, he was a devoted husband to Emma, his sweetheart from the early days of the Second World War.

At the age of 13 he gained a scholarship to Wigan & District Mining & Technical College and went on to teach at St Helens Technical College before being called up to the Royal Air Force in 1941. He was fast-tracked to officer status and spent five years in Airfield and Squadron operations. He served in Coastal Command, where his work included early research on automatic take-off and landing.

On leaving the RAF he forged a career in Further Education. Starting at Carlisle Technical College in 1947, he rose to Head of Electrical Engineering. In 1961 he was appointed Dumfries Technical College's first principal, overseeing the move to Heathhall in 1971, wielding significant influence on its design and lay-out. As college principal he forged links with the Frans Jurgens Schule in Düsseldorf less than 20 years after the end of the war. He developed a close rapport with his students, who addressed him as "Dick".

He also engaged more fully, through college and the scouting movement, with his love of hill-walking, particularly in south-west Scotland, developing Castlemaddy as a centre for his students and latterly the Scouts.

Retiring early, in 1979, he took up a four-year contract with the Overseas Development Administration as Principal of Botswana Polytechnic in Gaborone. He made many friends and travelled to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia on business, meeting many dignitaries, including the then president of Mozambique, Samora Machel.

On his return he did not retire gracefully. He led a number of Scout troop trips abroad, tutored for the blind and was a member of many institutions apart from the Scouts, including the International Centre for Eyecare Education. He also researched his family history and wartime exploits, writing a number of memoirs and articles. He helped Emma in her work with the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, including the Lockerbie disaster.

He leaves his wife, his sister Margaret and three children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His humour, stories, humanity and kindness will be missed, as will his presence in the Clachan Bar in St John's Town of Dalry, and the New Bazaar and the Troqueer Arms in Dumfries.

Alan Morris

If you have a friend or family member who you think should be featured in "Lives Remembered", please send your contribution of up to 500 words by e-mail to obituaries@independent.co.uk, by fax to 020 7005 2010 or by post to Obituaries, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS. The desk telephone number is 0207 005 2882. We reserve the right to edit copy for length and style

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: FP&A Analyst -Home Entertainment

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Account Manager - OTE £80,000+

£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

Recruitment Genius: Production Team Leader / Chargehand

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Chargehand to join ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project